Saturday, June 5, 2021

God's House Divided

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In the beginning of the chapter last week, we heard of Jesus breaking the Sabbath Laws regarding work, i.e., the exerting of energy to perform a task. The Pharisees were indignant when they heard Jesus teaching scripture to them. The result was they took council against Our Lord in order to destroy Him. This week we read of Jesus’ further works on that Sabbath.

If the Pharisees were indignant in last week’s study, they have gone “ballistic” as this study continues this week. They accuse Jesus of healing by the power of Beelzebub! Clearly, these Temple Leaders show us how much the House of God is divided: false doctrines abounded among the Temple’s teachers. God’s literal Word is brought into question for believability and truth. Last week marked a change in Jesus’ target audience: opening His Word to the Gentiles (Mt. 12:21). God’s only begotten Son has been accused of abandoning the Father! (And we know our God is one God.)

This is the result of legalism in any organization, but especially within the Church. But the love of God, and His grace can overcome division and pitting of people against one another.

I Corinthians 13:4,5 offers us a great exercise in our faith-walk with Jesus: “Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity does not vaunt itself, it is not puffed up. It does not behave itself in an unseemly way, it seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, or thinks evil. It doesn’t rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth.”  Your faith-walk with Jesus will be challenged with this exercise:

Read through the passage once; then a second time, replacing the word charity with the name of Jesus. Then lastly, read through it again, and where you read the name of Jesus, replace His name with yours.

To borrow from an old cliché/adage, we may “have come a long way baby,” but we have a long way to go. God’s love and grace can overcome all things. His is the truth in all things. Meditate on His Word. (Psalm 1:1-3)

“Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them.”  - Psalm 17:7 

Today's Audio Message:
Matthew 12:22-42 - "God's Divided House"


Jesus had an escalating conflict with the Jewish religious leaders.   He
was preaching, teaching and doing mighty works by the power of the Spirit to bring the Spirit’s conviction of sin in their hearts so they might repent and believe. But these Pharisees disregard the call to repent. In fact they had already conspired to destroy Him. 

They are questioning the validity of Christ’s claim as God’s Son. While following the letter of the law, they elevated themselves above the people. They failed to see God's mercy and grace and therefore failed in their interpretation of scripture. They became blind in their pride, rejecting what the Spirit was revealing to the people about Jesus the prophesied Messiah, the One they should have known. Hardened hearts and haughty spirits have brought them dangerously close to blaspheming the Holy Ghost.  Jesus is having none of it and calls them out on it. 

How severe is their rejection? Verse [31], Jesus says, "
Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men."

They had come perilously close to crossing a line that would lead to their eternal damnation. The question, of course, is what was that line? The Pharisees were knowledgeable of the prophecies, but they refused to acknowledge the truth when they saw it. Not only that, they publicly rejected Jesus’ claims and said He was demonic. Jesus said that anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. Blasphemy involves actively attributing the works of God to Satan, and doing so in spite of the facts and in unbelief.

It is willfully saying the truth is not the truth even though it has been made evident by the Spirit. The consequence of this willful rejection of what one knows to be true is a hardening of the heart, and scriptures warns us that it is the unforgivable sin.

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